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UCL Careers Explains…Starting a new role

By Skye A Aitken, on 28 November 2019

Written by Katharine Evans, Internships and Vacancies Officer at UCL Careers.

This is the first in a series of blog posts that will help you understand more about contractual information, payment for your work, Income Tax and National Insurance.

Today’s blog post has been designed to help you understand what employers should be providing you with when they offer you a job.

A person working on a laptopJob Details

When you are offered a job it’s an exciting time and you will likely be really happy to have secured a position. Once you have agreed to take the role you must ensure that you are given all the details that you need about it. It’s important to make sure that you have the information in writing from your new employer – this could be in the form of a formal document or an email exchange. Your employer is legally obliged to provide the terms and conditions of employment within two months of your starting date, but it is best if you can go over the details with your employer as soon as you join the company. Often an employer will give you details verbally however, the basic idea behind having the details in writing is to give you and your employer information that you can both refer back to if any disputes arise. As such the contract / email exchange should include all of the following:

  • The name of the employer and employee
  • The job title
  • Date of commencement of employment
  • Duration of employment – is it for a fixed period or ongoing?
  • Place of work
  • Rate of pay and when you will be paid
  • Normal hours of work
    • Check the normal working hours and look for mentions of compulsory overtime, or whether time off in lieu (TOIL) is given. Some employers limit the hours that can be worked and others may ask you to opt out of the “working time directive which aims to limit hours to 48 hours per week – see https://www.gov.uk/maximum-weekly-working-hours”
  • Holiday entitlement and holiday pay
    • All full time UK workers are entitled to a minimum of 28 days of annual leave. This is made up of 20 annual leave days plus 8 bank holidays.
    • Part time workers are entitled to the pro rata equivalent.
    • If you’re working on a zero hours contract, or a temporary role you may find that you accrue holiday hours for each hour worked or you may be paid holiday pay separately from your hourly pay, this equates to 12.07%.
  • Pension scheme
  • Sick pay
  • Notice period
  • Disciplinary rules and procedure
  • Grievance procedure

Payment

If you’re working a job with set hours your pay may be set out as a pro-rated annual salary – for more information about this see https://www.themix.org.uk/work-and-study/workers-rights-and-pay/pro-rata-pay-1685.html. If you’re being paid hourly and you often work different hours each week, then your employer should let you know in writing how much you’re paid per hour, and your standard working hours. It’s important to find out how your hours are worked out. Eg. are they recorded through clocking in? Do you complete timesheets? Or is each shift recorded by your manager? Regardless it’s a good idea for you to also make a record of the hours you work. You should also make sure that you know whether your breaks are paid or unpaid and whether overtime, or weekends and night shifts are paid at a different rate.

Occasionally your employer may want to change the terms of your employment. Even if you have only been given the terms verbally the employer must obtain written permission from you for any changes. Any changes that you agree to must be backed up with a written statement within one month of the changes taking place.

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